Babcock and Zero to test, develop and produce a synthetic drop-in fuel

Babcock International Group (Babcock) and Zero Petroleum (Zero) have signed an agreement on the opening day of the Royal International Air Tattoo, to advance the testing and development of Zero® synthetic, 100% drop-in liquid fuels, which are made from just air and water.

The partnership between Babcock and Zero will explore how synthetic fuels can be used to power a range of addressable platforms including infrastructure and powertrains so as to achieve net zero targets.

The use of drop in fuels provides the ability to use the fuel as a direct replacement for fossil fuels, with no need to blend, whilst offering the same performance with no modification to the engine or assets.

Zero® fuels are made from renewable and sustainable energy sources, making the process fully carbon neutral as a critical enabler of the energy transition in transportation. Working together, Babcock and Zero will investigate how synthetic drop-in fuel could be used to power existing and future sea, land and air defence platforms.  This includes assessing how nuclear energy may provide a viable, clean power source for Zero as it looks to scale for volume production.

Tom Newman, CEO of Babcock’s Land and UK Aviation, said: “Our partnership with Zero enables us to be at the forefront of exploring how we can use synthetic drop-in fuel to support our military customers.

“As a business, we’re committed to reducing our own carbon footprint and assisting our customers to achieve their net zero ambitions. This is an exciting step forward into the world of sustainable aviation, partnering with industry experts who are challenging what the future of air travel looks like.” 

Paddy Lowe, CEO of Zero, said: “This partnership with Babcock is a great step forward in Zero’s development of synthetic fuels to deliver net zero targets and accelerate the development of the synthetic fuel industry in general. Synthetic fuels offer truly exciting opportunities in performance and energy security as well as being 100% fossil-free.

Babcock has unrivalled expertise and reach in mobility platforms for air, land and sea. Our synthetic fuel is an immediate, 100% drop-in solution for all three sectors, as gasoline, diesel or jet fuel, and requiring no engine modifications. We strongly believe that Zero® fuels provide a carbon-neutral answer to the industry and our partnership with Babcock will help us lead together in the world’s journey to de-fossilisation.” Synthetic fuels provide the same amount of energy as fossil fuels but only use water and carbon dioxide as source materials, making the fuel carbon neutral. In 2021, Zero partnered with the Royal Air Force to secure the Guinness World Records® title for the first aircraft powered by synthetic fuel.